Wise Jewel

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Wise Jewel

by Noelle Granger

I flew to Chicago alone to pick up our second child, a Korean adoption. All I knew of her was from a postage stamp-sized photograph of her tiny round face surrounded by a bowl of black hair. And her Korean name, Kim Hyung Ju. I had asked someone who spoke Korean what that meant, and he replied, “Wise Jewel.”

I had managed to stay calm during the flight from Raleigh-Durham, but when I was met by an old friend at the airport to spend the time between my arrival and Hyung Ju’s, nervousness and excitement started to mount. The feelings left me unable to eat much of the lunch my friend bought me to celebrate.

“How are you feeling?” she asked.

“You’d think I’d have this down by now,” I replied, pushing my food around on my plate. “I just wish Gene were here.” My husband had decided to stay at home with our three-year-old son, thinking it would be easier for our daughter to transition to one person at a time. She had lived with her birth parents for two months before being placed with foster parents by the adoption agency in Seoul…

Continue Reading: Wise Jewel #Blogger’s Bash #Connections

Sunday Blog Share: True North

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True North

by Nathalie of arwenaragornstar

Where have you been? I waited so long

I am startled out of the usual post-coital daze by your words — it takes me a few seconds to find my way out of the maze consisting of half-formed thoughts and bright fireworks.

What is this? A throwaway comment prompted by satisfied lust?

Not at all your style, but this gal’s got to make sure, she’s still learning to trust — no longer the hermit in a hut, but…

I bend over your face, my hair falls around your head—it ripples as fields filled with rows of corn ahead of the approaching storm…

(Continue Reading: True North)

Sunday Blog Share: The Garage

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Note from Louise: I wrote this after my beloved grandfather passed away last year.  He had a high-grade glioma (brain tumour) and died peacefully at home after being nursed by my mum for several weeks.  After writing about him a little yesterday, I wanted to share. 

The Garage

by Louise at Minimal Belle

I cleaned out my grandparents’ garage today,
to make room
for my mother’s things–
two double beds, bluish-black sofas,
antique dresser units,
all of the cumbersome kitchen essentials.

I tried to be ruthless, without throwing away anything of importance.

But is an old red petrol can not important,
given the circumstances?

Seven months ago he left,
never seeing the temperate last few days
of September.
His navy-handled shears still hang on the wall,
beside the old club cricket bat
and the Christmas wreath that my mother
crafted from his coffin flowers.

The garage was cold and blowing dust
this afternoon, on account of
the last gasps of the Atlantic storm.

Life and death cannot, by wishing,
nor by the desperate wrenching
of the galaxies, be separated.

They are strangers inhabiting the same house…

The once-gleaming fountain in the middle of the yellowed lawn
is grey and stained. The garden is not large,
but she doesn’t walk that far anymore. The shallow steps are too much to manage.

In the rusted rainwater of his fountain there are brown leaves, curled
like arthritic fingers or tiny, sunken pirate ships
in a long-abandoned game….

(Continue reading: Minimal Belle)

The Power of Fear

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“Fear,” the man said. “Fear has long, fine fingers.”

Grigor Phelan found fear intriguing, full of subtleties, an art form one contemplated because nothing of its shape or color or texture was what it appeared. Fear spanned a spectrum from the subtle edge of respect to unbounded terror, and he was most attracted to what lay in between, in the murky hues of human sentiment. He was charmed by the guises of fear, how it hid itself from its host, how it crouched on the rim of consciousness. Like a child’s kaleidoscope, fear proved changeable, multi-faceted, and often lovely as it turned. It might wear the face of generosity or compassion, decency or loyalty, adoration or threat. It could be manipulated by the most benign of words or actions, or pace like a wolf at the edge of a nightfire, seeking a way in.  (Myths of the Mirror)

***

Few will deny that fear is a powerful force. I wrote the above words as the puppeteers geared up for the invasion of Iraq. Fear was the weapon of choice to convince otherwise rational adults to ignore facts and engage in some shock and awe. The Oxford Research Group estimates that 6,700 civilian men, women, and children died during those 3 weeks of “awe.”

Fear is empowering. We all know that invoking the “other” unites us, fires our collective will, and rallies our troops. How thrilling to identify a monster, threaten to lay it low, and scream our slogans. If you want to unite a people behind you, find a common enemy – a racial or ethnic group, a religion or gender, lifestyle or point of view. All other problems, all other responsibilities, every other option falls away.

Few are impervious to fear’s influence, though some are bolder, braver, and willing to see beyond the lurid illusions. No matter how one felt about Barrack Obama’s policies, it’s hard to deny the remarkable fortitude, dignity, and grace he exhibited while facing eight years of fear-based racism, bigotry, smears, and lies. The baseness of the attacks brought a whole nation to a standstill. They accomplished nothing and served no one, least of all the fearful.

Peace, unity, and progress require hard work. Fear is easy. It does away with the pesky time-consuming need for listening, dialog, collaboration, and compromise. It requires no research, no curiosity, no empathy, no diligence, no ethics, no time, no compassion, no truth. It’s so much easier to lay blame, to hide behind righteousness, to repeat the lies, to say what others want to hear, to feed and fan the flames until it becomes the norm for political discourse and cements walls of cynicism and suspicion in place.

Fear is ravenous. It claims those who wield it and makes them slaves to their own words and actions. Few who have unleashed the monster will risk the backlash should they try stuff it back in its cage. Once the beast is fed, it’s safer to keep feeding. Who would have thought kindness requires such courage.

Today, the US votes. I hope that we as a nation aren’t ensnared in fear’s talons. I hope we can stuff it back behind the bars and elect leaders who will knuckle under and start the tremendously hard work of finding solutions to the massive problems riddling our country and the world. This is serious business with lives at risk, real lives that depend on our leaders to stand up against fear and proceed with, at the very least, mutual respect.

What wonders we could achieve if we believed in the power of love.

My one political post for the year. Thanks for listening ❤

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Sunday Blog Share: The Days of Wine and Roses

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Days of Wine and Roses

by Pamela Wight

I’m on my way to see my mom this weekend, and taking little with me except some old albums.

When I visit her in late summer, she seems so less of what she used to be. Because of dementia, she can’t remember what I told her five minutes earlier, like “your clean clothes are in the drawer” or “dinner is in 45 minutes.”

Seconds after the conversation, my once bright, quick mom asks: “where are my clean socks?” and then “isn’t it time to walk down to the dining room?”

But when I direct mom to her floral comfy couch and open up the big battered black album, the one that sat in the bottom of her hope chest for decades, her dulled eyes brighten, and she sits up straighter.

Continue Reading: The Days of Wine and Roses

Reflecting on Mother’s Day

Four generations of women on Mother's Day, 30 yrs ago

Four generations of women on Mother’s Day, 33 yrs ago

A reblog from last year, no less relevant today.

For several years, I had the great privilege of serving families in need. As part of my work, I was invited into homes and lives to guide, teach, nurture, and when I could, to gather baskets of memories brimming with new ways of being and believing in the world. At most, I accompanied mothers and children on their journeys for mere slivers of time, and yet in the collection of hours and days, I was witness to great suffering and love, desperation and hope.

Those who travel the helpers’ path are granted gifts. Not gifts wrapped in paper and laced with ribbon that we set on a windowsill and forget with time, but gifts that reside within us, that alter who we are and how we perceive our world.

We live in a time of divisiveness. Our politics shred our world, and unfiltered rhetoric spews like bile into the air, toxic with deception and blame. It is no wonder that we are losing our ability to listen and behold each other with open minds and compassionate hearts.

Struggling mothers and their children live everywhere: in the mountains of China, on the plains of Africa, in the arid lands of Iran, or simply around the corner. Across the globe, mothers touch small foreheads, peer into innocent eyes, and sing their children to sleep.  What would happen to our world if we became still and quiet and listened to those whispered songs?

The enduring gifts of a mother’s love have sustained children, families and communities through the centuries. They are timeless, borderless reminders of our common humanity and dreams of hope.

To mothers everywhere, I wish us a world of peace.